Finally, a cease-fire in Syria? Bashar al-Assad's government, after two years of bloody, money-burning war with rebels, now says it doesn't think either side has the stamina to go all the way and win the damned thing. (An admission that comes, perhaps coincidentally, as Syria starts feeding the United Nations all the details on its chemical weapons stockpiles.)

No one's too hopeful. The US and Russia can't agree on which rebels should be at the table, should any negotiating tables ever be set up in the first place. The US-backed Syrian National Coalition says the whole thing is a ruse designed to "confuse" the world and that they want no part of it. They also want Assad to resign. And he's not so interested in that.

Iran's president has pulled a Putin—signing his name to a lengthy op-ed submitted to the Washington Post. Hassan Rouhani, newly elected and using his honeymoon with voters to push a rhetorical about-face, says, "Gone is the age of blood feuds. World leaders are expected to lead in turning threats into opportunities."

It's proof that sanctions can work. Fawning letters between Rouhani and Obama, kind words, support from the priests who run the place, etc.—no one would be nearly so effusive without the international sanctions, and not unilateral bombs, that have been putting such a severe squeeze on Iran's ability to spend its oil money.

Pope Francis, you might have read, is decidedly disinterested in purging the impure and the gays and those who've strayed from the Catholic Church. His people have even been willing to discuss a non-original tenet of Christianity: priestly celibacy. His VERY CONSERVATIVE predecessor is still alive but, it's safe to say, is probably still spinning in his gold-encrusted, palatial grave.

Back to work in the porn mines! After a run of HIV infections, dirty-movie poohbahs have lifted a moratorium on production. Oh, and be sure to get tested for HIV every two weeks going forward. Safe!

It's a step toward climate sanity. The EPA today will lay out its first rules on how much carbon pollution new coal- and gas-fired power plants can spew into our skies. But that's not even the hardest battle in a dawning war with the coal lobby: Yet to come are rules for current power plants, whose sooty ways have long been grandfathered in.

A park in Chicago, America's murder capital, was the scene of a shooting that injured 13 people, including a 3-year-old boy.

Toronto's crack-accused mayor, Rob Ford, unveiled a portrait of his ruddy face. It was done by a fellow member of the city council and will hang in the mayor's mother's house.

Vitamin Water has this game where it pairs random English and French words on the inside of its bottle caps. A family with a disabled child angrily wrote Coca-Cola after their cap just happened to say "You Retard."

The Port of Portland is in trouble with the ACLU of Oregon after rejecting ads that a group opposed to clear-cutting wanted hung at Portland International Airport. The ACLU makes the claim that bans on political speech in advertising run afoul of the state's constitution—winning that argument, most recently, in a victory over TriMet.

The sad gods of fall, weather forecasters warn, will be upon us with their wailing and tears any minute now.